'A queer::eco::poetics holds on simultaneously to the outsider status of queerness while working to disrupt the distinctions between outside and in, natural and unnatural, normal and freakish. A poetics of the porous.'
- Tamiko Beyer, Notes towards a queer::eco::poetics
Queer Ecologies is an interdisciplinary intervention into how we live, grow, love, make kin and stand in allyship with the alter-human. We are a collective ecosystem made up of speculative writer, artist and pleasure activist Ama Josephine Budge; writer, performer and facilitator Linden K. McMahon and compostist, gardener and researcher Hari Byles. We seek to tell new stories about nature and our connection to it, empowering interspecies collaborations, and honouring the inherently queer patterns and relations found throughout nature.
Queer Ecologies Residency
@ Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
The trees tend each other
by which I mean they tend the dead.
Who is it that speaks to me
when I think I hear their voices?
- (from ‘Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park’, Linden K McMahon)
We are beyond thrilled to join the ecosystem of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park as their 2021 artists in residence. At THCP, we will be exploring the layers of history, alter-life relations, and community which make up the Park’s ecology - working with and inspired by the interdependence which is so evident in the space. You can expect monthly full-moon-fires, Black science fiction writing workshops, poetic walks through the space, discussions on care and a microbe disco (which is just as cool and weird as it sounds!) We can’t wait to meet, walk, dance, and learn interdependently will you all there!
For this online talk we'll discuss: what are ecologies and how are they queer? How are queer ecologies fun, miraculous, surprising, sexy, affirming and genius examples of life all around us adapting and living with us and everything else?
Join our first event as Artists in Residence with Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park as we share some oozy, funny and surprising stories from our work and research practices. We will also discuss some of our plans for the year ahead and reflections on the Park so far... We would love to hear about your experiences and reflections on what you think a queer ecology is, or could be, so please feel free to bring examples to share! Click here to book and find out more...
If you're attending one of our Microbe Disco's (or if you're just board at home!) have a play with these exciting resources to get inside your very own companion species (literally), and get your microbial love letters ready for serenading...
Feel free to do this, to our Microbe Disco playlist on Spotify, where you can add your wormy tunes too!
Who We Are
Ama Josephine Budge
Ama Josephine Budge is a Speculative Writer, Artist, Curator and Pleasure Activist whose work navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyse human rights, environmental evolutions and troublesomely queered identities. Ama is a PhD candidate in Psychosocial Studies with Dr Gail Lewis at Birkbeck. Her research takes a queer, decolonial approach to challenging climate colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on inherently environmentalist pleasure practices in Ghana. Ama is a member of Queer Ecologies 2020, runs the Apocalypse Reading Room project and Lead Artist on the MycoLective project with Chisenhale Studios and Feral Practice.
Hari Byles is a researcher and compostist with a focus on accessibility, sustainability, soil care and alternative sanitation. They have worked for a number of food and medicine growing projects across London through which they aim to bring ecological and social justice together through everyday actions and inventive methods. As part of the Roving Microscope Hari has been exploring soil microbiology, soil health and our relationship to microbes, and aims to bring an intersectional queer lens to this work through their collaboration with Queer Ecologies. Currently they are developing a soil care and alternative sanitation coop, called Compost Mentis, based at Bethnal Green Nature Reserve.
Linden Katherine MacMahon
Linden Katherine McMahon is a writer, performer, teaching artist, and nature connection facilitator. They write poetry and fiction exploring connections between humans and non-human nature, reimagining belonging and kinship, and celebrating queer joy and liberation. They aim to use poetry and stories towards building queer, feminist, decolonial, and sustainable futures through community and solidarity. They also like baking elaborate desserts, making pots, and reading sci-fi books. In 2019, Hari & Linden ran the Open Gardens Treasure Trail project, working with Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, local growers, the Bengali East End Heritage Society, and the Live Art Development Agency (LADA). You can read more about it and download Connecting Words, the zine we made to record it all here.
The Queer Ecologies collective invites you to join us for a multi-species, multi-generational and intersectional virtual disco: come meet your companion species, move with algae, moss, grass, skin, bark, poetry and other rhythmic delights under the microscope. When so many of us are isolated, rageful and grieving, we believe spaces like this which hold joy, connection, interdependency and grief are vital. We hold the painful contradictions of standing with and for the non-human in the face of climate colonialism, reclaiming the right of BIPOC to do so without being dehumanised by white supremacy. We resist heteropatriarchal and ableist ideas that who we are is unnatural and lean into our divergent deliciousness. As a gender-queer and Black queer collective, we beleive in the importance of learning from alter-life how to do joy, how to do pleasure, how to do interdependence, how to dance. Now more than ever, we declare that we belong.
This in/visible disco begins at the centre of a hot compost pile, where bacteria, and amoeba jiggle and twist with one another, digesting waste materials, making vibrations and busting moves. As things get moving, other creatures arrive, including worms, woodlice, rotifers, arthropods and humans: ie YOU! For this Microbe Disco we’re joined by the incredible Victoria Sin, headlining the night with sounds, words and wiggles…
We would like to thank Nissa Nishikawa for sharing her amazing dance moves with us, Jasmine Butt/ Guest for her worm recordings and remixes! And Becky Lyon (Elastic Fiction) for sharing her edited microscope footage which first appeared as part of her piece Prima Luca in October 2019.